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March 20, 2019

John Kelly is just doing what former Trump officials do.

On Wednesday, the former chief of staff for President Trump officially started his new career in public speaking. Kelly joined an agency that already represents a slew of ex-White House staffers, including former Press Secretary Sean Spicer and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. It seems like a predictable move for Kelly, but the speaking example he's using to promote himself is more interesting, The Washington Post's Aaron Blake points out.

Kelly's agency profile is loaded with his biography and favorite speech topics: governance, geopolitics, and leadership, if you were wondering. There's just one featured video of him speaking, though, and it comes from a White House press room appearance in October 2017. In it, Kelly discusses going to the dedication of a new FBI field office in Florida in 2015, and how Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) only "talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building." Wilson slammed the comments as a "lie."

A video later surfaced by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel quickly showed that, as PolitiFact notes, Kelly "mischaracterized" Wilson's words "in significant ways." Kelly later said he would "absolutely not" apologize to Wilson, but it's still a little strange that he'd choose such a controversial clip to advertise his speaking prowess.

Add Kelly to your speaker wishlist — and watch the video of him disparaging Wilson — here. Kathryn Krawczyk

December 27, 2018

It seems Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker's resume needs a fact checker.

Whitaker, who took over for ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions in November, seems to have exaggerated his accomplishments as a University of Iowa football player in the early 1990s. On his resume submitted to the Department of Justice and a handful of other jobs, Whitaker incorrectly claimed he received a prestigious Academic All-American designation, The Wall Street Journal reports.

To become an Academic All-American, college football players have to maintain a high GPA. Eight districts across the U.S. select their top honorees, and those finalists are voted on for the top award. Whitaker only received one of those district awards and never the top prize, a spokeswoman for the College Sports Information Directors of America tells the Journal.

But that's not what's listed across websites and government documents, the Journal found. Whitaker listed an All-American award in his biography on the website of his former law firm and in records from when he applied to be an Iowa judge in 2010. And more than 20 years after Whitaker didn't earn All-American status, he still repeated the claim on his resume submitted to the DOJ, documents the Federal Trade Commission released in November show.

A Justice Department spokesperson says a 1993 University of Iowa football media guide listed him as an All-American, and an athletic director at the school said the listing was misleading. "People over time use terms interchangeably and innocently," the CSIDA spokeswoman also told the Journal. Read more about Whitaker's mistaken identity at The Wall Street Journal. Kathryn Krawczyk

June 14, 2018

Alan Weisselberg seemed to know he was the Trump Organization's CFO. But he could've listed another job on his resume, and he didn't even know it.

President Trump's longtime loyalist is also listed as the Donald J. Trump Foundation's treasurer, which would've held him accountable in a new lawsuit filed by the New York attorney general Thursday accusing the nonprofit of illicit spending. But Weisselberg wasn't aware of his position until a New York state investigator told him, The Washington Post reports.

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood alleges in the lawsuit that, based on two years of investigation sparked by a Post investigation, the foundation was benefiting the Trump family instead of the public.

But first, Weisselberg told an investigator there wasn't a policy determining how the nonprofit spent its money, per the Post. The investigator then asked if Weisselberg knew he's been on the Trump Foundation's board for over a decade. He didn't.

Of course, it's hard to remember being on a board that hasn't met since 1999. Read more about the lawsuit at The Washington Post. Kathryn Krawczyk

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